[D&D] D&D on achieving edition immortality

#1
Okay, I read an interesting article on whether the 5th Edition of Dungeons and Dragons is like the Windows 10 Operating System, finally immortal, with only updates instead of edition revisions moving forward. Below is the list of the various D&D editions and the duration as living games, with 11 years a top target.

I now look at "Die Vecna Die" and lament how I missed having that particular book in my collection. I guess my AD&D2e collection is not a perfect overview of past glories. Anyway, my 4th Edition is just a shell composed of just the Core Rulebooks in slipcase, so not like I am trying to get the perfect collection of all the editions.

  • Original Dungeons & Dragons: 1974 (woodgrain boxed set) through 1976 (Swords & Spells) - 2 years
  • Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (1st Edition): 1977-1979 (depending on whether you could it as beginning with the release of the Monster Manual in 1977, the Players Handbook in 1978, or the Dungeon Masters Guide in 1979) through 1988 (DL16 World of Krynn) - 11 years
  • Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (2nd Edition): 1989 (Player's Handbook) through 2000 (Die Vecna Die!) - 11 years
  • Basic Dungeons & Dragons (Holmes): 1978 (the Holmes Basic set; insofar as I know, this never had any products made specifically for it) - 3 years
  • Basic Dungeons & Dragons (B/X): 1981 (the Moldvay Basic Set to 1983 (X5 Temple of Death) - 2 years
  • Basic Dungeons & Dragons (BECMI): 1983 (the Mentzer Basic Set to 1993 (Champions of Mystara: Heroes of the Princess Ark) - 10 years
  • Dungeons & Dragons (3.0 Edition): 2000 (Player's Handbook) through 2003 (Ghostwalk) - 3 years
  • Dungeons & Dragons (3.5 Edition): 2003 (Player's Handbook) through 2007 (Elder Evils) - 4 years
  • Dungeons & Dragons (4th Edition): 2008 (Player's Handbook) through 2012 (Into the Unknown: The Dungeons Survival Handbook) - 4 years
  • Dungeons & Dragons (4th Edition Essentials): 2010 (Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set) through 2011 (Monster Vault: Threats to the Nentir Vale) - 1 year
  • Dungeons & Dragons (Next): 2013 (Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle through 2014 (Legacy of the Crystal Shard) - 1 year
  • Dungeons & Dragons (5th Edition): 2014 (Starter Set) through Present (Mythic Odysseys of Theros) - 6 years+
 
#3
Please don't say Windows will be like this forever.
Not saying Windows 10 is the best Operating System, just that the Microsoft strategy is to have it become the "forever OS" so obviously there will still be updates, but the core version will not change, so all updates will just be a new version of Windows 10.

https://redmondmag.com/blogs/scott-bekker/2019/01/windows-10-microsofts-forever-os.aspx


Some are suggesting that Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition should emulate the above strategy and end the thoughts of a new edition.
 
#5
It's an interesting notion, although I'm not sure that 5th has entirely nailed the approach they talked about during the "D&D next" announcements. Strip it back for a 6th edition and I could see it being designed more with the continual "upgrade" approach in mind. What I can't quite grasp is how it would work in practice. Buy a new revised core book every few years, or just end up with a huge folder of rule changes to keep track of?

Incidentally, original D&D remained in print until 1979, so it was still considered a viable product after AD&D had arrived.
 
#6
You mean like MacOS or BSD or Debian?
You are right, the Apple ecosystem already had the OS X 10 since 2000, so about 14 years before Windows 10 but Windows makes more noise since it is still the dominant OS across offices, homes and schools. I still see expensive Apple computers more as a status of super geeks, super cool kids or the mostly well off.


It's an interesting notion, although I'm not sure that 5th has entirely nailed the approach they talked about during the "D&D next" announcements. Strip it back for a 6th edition and I could see it being designed more with the continual "upgrade" approach in mind. What I can't quite grasp is how it would work in practice. Buy a new revised core book every few years, or just end up with a huge folder of rule changes to keep track of?

Incidentally, original D&D remained in print until 1979, so it was still considered a viable product after AD&D had arrived.
Yes, building my collection up from the classics is giving me headaches running those original B/X games that uses tables instead of THAC0 which itself has been superseded and rightly so by ascending armour class in 3rd Edition. Now imagine that editions did not exist and we had to use just one rulebook to explain those three major rules changes. A nightmare!
 

Guvnor

The Guvnor
Staff member
#8
I see no real need to do anything other than a 20 year refresh of the core three books. It can be modular, 5e is very modular, and maintain backward compatibility.
 
#9
I can't see it happening at least from a commercial aspect. Over time there'll be tweaks and revisions they'll want to include and it makes sense to publish these as a new edition.

Unlike Win10 where you'd buy a new licence with each new PC which have a finite life cycle, books last a lot longer. It makes sense to do a periodic refresh and get fans to stump up for a new edition and try and entice new players in (or suckers like me who bought loads of 5e then felt a bit meh about it)

Obviously they can't do it too often and it's risky as it's popular.
 
#10
I can't see it happening at least from a commercial aspect. Over time there'll be tweaks and revisions they'll want to include and it makes sense to publish these as a new edition.

Unlike Win10 where you'd buy a new licence with each new PC which have a finite life cycle, books last a lot longer. It makes sense to do a periodic refresh and get fans to stump up for a new edition and try and entice new players in (or suckers like me who bought loads of 5e then felt a bit meh about it)

Obviously they can't do it too often and it's risky as it's popular.
There are some seriously good 5th Edition products around, ever since the D&D 5e SRD was opened up to third parties.

For example, I am supporting the latest Trudvang Adventures Kickstarter that has an interesting take on making D&D5e combat more deadly so that even Players with high hit point characters think before they attack every moving NPC.

Lots of the official 5th Edition stuff is mostly new takes on old classic adventures collected in single volume books now. I skip those, myself.
 
#12
I sort of hope any new editions are like Savage Worlds editions, in that each one is small tweaks, rather than dramatic changes.

That or ones that do something dramatically different, emphasising a different play style. Books which can exist alongside "standard" D&D rather than being a replacement.

Or more unusual settings featuring the complete rules for playing that setting, customised and not including all classes/races/monsters from D&D, along with a few new ones.

I don't see any of those as likely. But that's what I want. The last two would see my buying stuff in the way a new edition probably wouldn't. But my tastes are probably not those of the main market.
 
#13
I sort of hope any new editions are like Savage Worlds editions, in that each one is small tweaks, rather than dramatic changes.

That or ones that do something dramatically different, emphasising a different play style. Books which can exist alongside "standard" D&D rather than being a replacement.

Or more unusual settings featuring the complete rules for playing that setting, customised and not including all classes/races/monsters from D&D, along with a few new ones.

I don't see any of those as likely. But that's what I want. The last two would see my buying stuff in the way a new edition probably wouldn't. But my tastes are probably not those of the main market.
Adventures in Middle-Earth would probably fit the bill of complete rules for playing that setting, since it does not require the three core books to play, just the D&D 5e System Reference Document which is free online or you can do a print-on-demand of it.

Though, Studio Agate, did a complete rules inclusion into their Fate Forge RPG for D&D5e, adding that bit of different flair from standard 5th Edition themes. Even the races here seem more authentic, the Dragonborn sort of more alligator-type people than mythic dragons.
 
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